No more dot-com gentrification, San Francisco's voters said Tuesday. With all the precincts reporting, the final vote tally was 120,695 for and 117,216 against a ballot proposal that will effectively halt new office development in such neighborhoods as the Mission District and South of Market.
Proposition K, a much milder anti-growth measure sponsored by San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, was defeated.
Marie Jones, director of economic development for the San Francisco Partnership, said: "Prop. L is not going to solve the problem of housing costs, nonprofit arts displacement or traffic. These are complex problems that require real community planning. Unfortunately, the passage of L will lead to job loss and business displacement."
Victorious supporters of the measure, such as Debra Walker, a Mission District painter and community activist, insist that their measure is not anti-dot-com, it's anti-developer: "What's happened is that real estate interests have artificially accelerated the prices, and people can't afford it, including the dot-com companies. You don't just build yourself out of what is perceived to be a supply and demand crisis, anymore than you print more money when you have a bad economy."
The passage of anti-growth measure Proposition L added a new chapter to San Francisco's long history of progressive politics. But whether Proposition L's passage will have an impact on San Francisco's dot-com economy is, ironically, almost a moot question.
Even as voters were going to the polls, news began to spread of the latest round of dot-com closures. San Francisco's voters may have put an end to new office development just as the new economy locomotive finally ran out of steam.